Seniors Design Device to Improve Mental Health

Seniors Thewfic Anwar and Riya Jain are refining a device they created as the dynamic duo powering Parker’s Project Invent team this year.

Project Invent is a national nonprofit organization that “empowers students with the 21st century skills to succeed individually and impact globally. Our goal is to create a generation of fearless problem solvers.” Student teams across the country work with a community partner to use design thinking to solve a problem for that partner, engineer and code a physical technology product to address that problem and pitch their invention to a team of entrepreneurs, designers and investors.

During this first semester, Anwar and Jain, AKA team CalmQuest, have been working with their community partner to understand her ALS diagnosis. To empathize with their user, students conducted in-depth interviews with her and consulted with the director of the Les Turner ALS Center, Dr. Robert Kalb. Based on that knowledge, they focused their invention on improving the mental health of individuals diagnosed with chronic conditions and their loved ones on the journey with them.

Jain and Anwar prototyped two ideas and, with feedback from the user, decided to focus on creating a “Love Band.” This device, worn by both the patient and their loved one, will allow the loved one to send voice messages that the patient can play when going through a tough time. It will also allow both users to send a light to one another to let them know they’re on their mind. Anwar and Jain have developed both a “looks-like” and “works-like” prototype and a marketing plan encompassing a budget, a competitor matrix and a pricing strategy for scaling the invention. Between now and May, they will test their prototypes with the user and incorporate her feedback.

The culmination of this project is Project Invent’s Demo Day in May; Project Invent teams from around the country showcase their inventions to top investors and tech executives and pitch them for funding. Anwar and Jain also have to create their pitch and refine their presentation skills. During finals week, they conducted a sample presentation to share their work in process with family members and employees. Students received praise and critical feedback to help them prepare for competition.

Great work CalmQuest! Parker looks forward to hearing more about the team this spring.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.